By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

The local Deli was unusually quiet …
translating into a good conversation day.
I waited for my friend,
 preoccupied with thoughts of upcoming conversation,
 and craving a strong cup of coffee.
The sun was shining brightly, a little too brightly,
shades needed to be turned.
That’s what prompted my initial gaze toward the window seat.
That’s when I saw “him.”
The “him” was an elderly looking farmer-type,
maybe in his 80’s;
 wore an old blue flannel shirt over slumped shoulders and faded, well-worn jeans.
Gray hair, an unkept beard, large frame.
One of those people you almost miss unless you’re really looking.
Something about him made my eyes linger long;
a “loneliness and unspeakable sadness” seemed to engulf him.
Watched him scan the parking lot and then drift back to the coffee cup in front of him.
And all of a sudden … he mattered to me.
Moved by a perfect stranger,
I no longer cared about the too-bright sun or the upcoming conversation.
This stranger had become my new preoccupation.
Perhaps he felt my stare;
he looked up,
our eyes locked for a second.
Eyes so telling; eyes so sad and empty.
Compelled by a prompting within,
I reached into my purse and retrieved a little 2x3 inch scripture card;
words reflecting hope … no matter how hopeless things seem.
Don’t remember the specific reference,
Just chose one that I thought would elevate his thoughts.
I walked over to him.
“Sir, are you doing okay?”
I’ve asked others before,
his words were direct and more honest,
“I’m tired, just so very tired,” he said quietly.
Put his head down a little,
followed the rim of his coffee cup with his index finger.
I put my hand on his.
For a moment we were quiet.
Something passed between us;
some form of empathetic camaraderie.
Asked him if I could help in some way.
“You’ve done enough;
 thanks for stopping ….
thanks for asking,” he said.
Gentle voice; soft-spoken.
Gave him the scripture card and told him God loved him and had a plan for him.
He looked like he might say something … and then decided against it.
Gave me a tired smile.
And then … in walked my late friend.
The elderly gentleman nodded at me,
 I went and took my place.
No longer preoccupied with my friend or our conversation
 I continued to watch
 the one I’d held hands with.
Watched him read the card,
touch the edges gently and then ….
I saw him take out his wallet,
read the card once more and placed the scripture in it.
Picked up his coffee up,
 took his last sip,
got up, gave me a silent nod.
Walked out.
I don’t remember much about the day’s conversation with my dear friend.
But I remember the hand I held for just a moment and the thing that passed between us.
I remember the man.
This “piece” isn’t written to decorate my small attempt to care about an individual I perceived to be hurting.
It’s about how thankful I am that he was in my life and that I was in his.
Perfect strangers,
Hands touching,
Lives briefly intersecting,
A 2x3 inch card with words of hope conveyed,
And someone just being honest about life.
There's something so refreshing about honesty....
And two hands touching.

“And this is His commandment,
That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ,
And love one another,
as He gave us commandment.”
1 John 3:23